After an amazing week away from work and the routine of life, we have returned from our mini-vacation refreshed!
We’ve been away from the blog too long, and for that we sincerely apologize. We’re looking forward to getting back into the kitchen blogging recipes and talking about our day-to-day life.
Of course, the main reason for our disappearance (as we warned about here) is because Beyond Bacon is in the process of being put into its layout, edited and wrapped up in a pretty bow for the printer in order to make sure it gets into your hands by July 2, 2013!
Now that all of the recipes and photos are final, we made the final selections of photos for an updated cover. We debuted it at Paleo FX last week, so even though it’s not up on Amazon yet we wanted to share it with you! What do you think of the updated the cover?
You’ll notice we’ve added Joel Salatin’s name to the cover. We incredibly honored that the wonderful, well-spoken founding father of the sustainable farming movement – Mr. Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm – is contributing a foreword to Beyond Bacon. From the moment we saw Food, Inc. and subsequently visited Polyface Farm, his farm and farming practices have been an inspiration for us to focus on humanely and sustainably raised animals, and we have hopes for showing you that it doesn’t have to be expensive or overly complicated!
If you haven’t pre-ordered yet, why not? Well, when we asked a few of you we received lots of great questions. We’ll be continually updating these FAQs about Beyond Bacon so that when the book’s in your hands you can return to the site for answers!
Wait, is that CORN DOGS on the cover? How is that even possible?!
Yes, the recipes featured on the pictured flyer (in order from left to right) are:
- Italian Sausage (we teach you how to stuff your own!)
- Rendered lard, luscious and rich yet not distinctly porky – perfect for everything
- Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate “Butter” Cream Frosting
- Smoked Spare Ribs with a vinegar-based North Carolina BBQ Sauce
- Corn Dogs with Sweet Potato Crisps (fried in lard)
- Make Your Own Bacon
- Cajun Rubbed Tenderloin with Turnip and Parsnip Puree
- The Best Brownies made into a sundae with Maple Bacon Ice Cream and Salted Caramel Sauce
- Braised Neck Steak over Maple Sage Butternut Squash
We can’t give away the secrets to how we successfully accomplished the fantastic flavors and recreations in Beyond Bacon, but I can assure you that recipes not even mentioned (like Savory Bacon Jam (pictured below) and Grain-Free Pie Crust) have been quoted by testers to be “worth the price of the book alone for this single recipe.”
I can’t wait until July 2nd. Can you please release some of Beyond Bacon’s recipes and stop teasing us?!
Yes, and no. Yes, we’re releasing some of the recipes early (as soon as the layout is final). However, that’s not to say that some of the most popular and award winning recipes on our websites aren’t featured in Beyond Bacon. In fact, we tried hard to make sure they were so that you’d have your favorites in the beautifully bound hardback book. We updated the photographs for the book (like Meatloaf Cupcakes, updated picture shown below). Hint Hint: If you want a sneak peak at Beyond Bacon recipes, we’ve tagged them on our site… And no, we’re not going to stop teasing you. That’s half the fun and helps us all get excited about July 2nd finally arriving!
I am not a “great cook” or very adventurous, will I still like Beyond Bacon? I need simple!
We’re not going to pull any punches here – this is intended to be a legit cookbook, something Ina Garten or Michael Symon would perhaps enjoy cooking from. Whereas Eat Like a Dinosaur is made to be kid-friendly and easy enough for children to assist with, Beyond Bacon is a cookbook for grown-ups. Of course, our children ate and loved every recipe in this book. This book has been tested by a 7 year old, a 4 year old and a 2 year old! For those concerned that we will be giving you unreasonably difficult recipes, each recipe has an indication of the skill level you may need to complete it.
Some of our family’s weekday regular meals (vegetable pastas and meatloaf) are included and take less than a half hour to put on the table; each recipe indicates how long it will take to prepare. However, it is intended for a more sophisticated palate. Some of the recipes are more intricate and adventurous than we went with ELaD; however, there are quite a few grilled, braised or stewed recipes that require minimal effort. All of the flavor profiles and cooking techniques are similar to the recipes we post on the blog. In essence, if you like our blog’s recipes you’ll love Beyond Bacon.
The book is specifically written in order to facilitate literally cooking your way through a whole hog, so of course there are several recipes for organ meats. However, several recipes testers had never had organ meat and were sincerely impressed with the simple transformative recipes, such as Liver Gravy, Huntsman Stew and Lengua Carnitas. Additionally, of the 105+ recipes in the book 85% of them contain no organ meats of any kind. There are no more organ meat recipes than you would find in a single animal. You’ll find some unusual cuts, like Jowl, Backbone, Neck, and Hocks, but all it’s all the same porktastic muscle meat and flavors you’re used to – just some ideas for the cheaper cuts to save your family money! We also offer suggestions of what “normal” cuts would work to replace the more “odd” ones you might not be ready to tackle yet (where possible).
Also, we don’t want you to think that this book is a meat-only cookbook. There are a TON of vegetable and dessert recipes (like the Salted Mocha Biscotti pictured below).
I can’t find pork bones or I have another stock on hand, can I use an alternative animal stock for your recipes? Can I buy lard at the store? What kind of almond flour did you use?
Sure. But please, use real stock – not the boxed shelf-stable product from the discount super stores. The gelatin difference in homemade and store bought will likely change the outcome of the recipe. We recommend beef since it’s more flavorful, but any combination of beef or chicken would work. And honestly, it won’t be half as good. Quite a few of our testers had never made pork stock before and when they reported back to us we got quotes such as, “Pork stock is AMAZING, why haven’t I been making it my whole life?!”
We recommend rendering your own lard. It’s SO simple and we give fool-proof instructions in Beyond Bacon. When chilled, it stores very well. It’s something you’ll only need to do once every couple of months if you do a big batch. Also, it’s cheap to do yourself! If you really want to buy it, find a local farmer or butcher that sells it. Our area has at least a dozen sources of pastured pig lard (The Organic Butcher and Red Apron Butchery to start). It is essential to NOT buy the hydrogenated shelf-stable chemically-laden versions from the grocery store.
We always recommend Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour. If you have a different brand you enjoy, try it. But I can tell you our testers reported problems with a few of the baked good recipes when not using a fine enough grain of almond flour.
My family has food sensitivities beyond Paleo, how much of Beyond Bacon includes eggs and nuts? Is it Autoimmune-protocol friendly?
Our family has those sensitivities too! Because our family consumes limited nuts, eggs and nightshades the book will be much lighter on those foods than most paleo recipe books. That’s not to say that it’s free of those ingredients, but it will be very easy to adapt or find recipes that are free of those ingredients. For example, our Triple Chocolate Freezer Fudge pictured below is nut-free and egg-free while our Yellow Cupcakes (on the cover) were specifically created in order to accommodate nut allergies. Most of the book, however, is meat, veggies and spices in alignment with the autoimmune protocol of paleo (similar to GAPS and SCD).
What about Jaminet, Mercola and WAPF’s recommendation to avoid pork?
We read Jaminet’s series, the article on Mercola’s site and also the study published in Wise Traditions. We did extensive research on the source material used for those recommendations, consulted with a Ph.D. and provided an in-depth summary of findings within Beyond Bacon. It was a very serious matter because we respect these sources in numerous ways; we in no way mean to belittle or disrespect their findings – only share with you our perspective after thorough research into them.
First of all, we recommend buying pork from reputable sources. We actually met many of the pigs we consumed in the making of this book. They grew up in a clean environment, were handled in a humane way, and were slaughtered ethically. Ideally, you would be able to do the same. It’s important to note that in the sources and studies used on any anti-pork crusade we have read, the meat analyzed was from “immune-compromised” (sick) or CAFO pigs.
Before we give the history and justification of where we think the worry came from (originally it was a legitimate concern, we’ll explain), let me show you a chart released by a completely impartial 3rd party, Centers for Science in Public Interest (CSPI).
Uh, yes. That’s correct. Among food borne illnesses, CSPI found that pork produced the LOWEST number of food borne illness among any of the meats commonly consumed.
This study is even more fascinating when you consider that the reason people are commonly concerned about the consumption of pork is because the USDA recommended reduced consumption and thorough cooking to reduce cases of trichinosis. The result was pork cooked beyond the obliteration of any moist and juicy deliciousness; it’s the reason our parents think pork needs to be cooked to the consistency of a hockey puck and honestly, that’s hardly worth eating.
The good news is, as the USDA notes, cases of trichinosis have been greatly reduced since the 1950s, when we realized that feeding omnivorous pigs scraps of raw dead (sick) pigs is what was causing the illness (shocker!) and being passed onto humans from under-cooked meat. In fact, as the chart above shows, pigs are now one of the lowest carriers of food borne illness (including trichinosis) of all the animals we commonly consume. Most cases of trichinosis now come from wild game, not pork.
Ok, let’s address each article individually.
Jaminet‘s argument centers around zoonotic diseases. Our smarty-britches colleague Dr. Sarah Ballantyne helped us weigh in on this one. Pigs are hardly the only animals susceptible to zoonotic diseases, mad cow disease and bird flu are other common examples. In fact, almost all animals which humans come into contact with (as pets or consumption) have the same risks noted as associated with pigs.
Thus Jaminet’s remaining argument (that we were worried about) comes down to hepetitis E (HEV). This study of CAFO pigs in China found that 4% of swine had HEV (not as high as we’d expect given the strong warnings). HEV has a correlative rather than causative relationship linked to liver disease (the assumption for autoimmune/MS increase from pork consumption). This study found that simply owning a pet increased that correlation. Specifically, HEV is a 4-6 week self-limiting and self-resolving condition that only seriously threatens those already immune compromised. So even if you get a rare case of HEV from pork, worse case for those not immune compromised is that you’re not feeling great for a little while before your body heals itself.
All said, we agree with Jaminet’s recommendation that people not eat raw liver or undercooked intestines of CAFO pigs (for the chance that those with worms, HEV or other food borne illness not be transferred to the human). Our recipe methods thoroughly cook (to eliminate the possibility for contamination) all organ meats in Beyond Bacon.
The Mercola article specifically addresses the commonality of pathogens discovered during a random survey among pork products. This, as clearly indicated by the above graph, is not exclusive to pork – all CAFO-raised meat commonly carry pathogens. There is a very simple way to defeat these pathogens: cook your meat.
We do not recommend that you eat raw pork by any means, and encourage safe handling at all times. Follow the USDA standards (not Consumer Reports, as was misattributed in the article) for pork preparation (160 degrees for ground meat and organs, 145 degrees for everything else) and you will be highly unlikely to catch anything from your pork. To assure you, Beyond Bacon specifies the cooking temperatures as noted for each recipe where such monitoring is appropriate. Overall, our take on the article is that it seems to be a bit of needless fear mongering considering every restaurant you dine in gives the same warning message on undercooked meat.
Last but not least is the WAPF‘s study in Wise Traditions on the live blood analysis of an extremely small sample group who consumed varying types of pork. When we sent this study to Sarah for review, she wrote back an extensive response to why live blood analysis is specifically not an acceptable form of scientific research, in hundreds of thousands of articles on PubMed – not a single one is based on this type of study. Live blood analysis often shows “clotting issues”, this is because a simple second from the amount of time the blood is put on the slide and then covered can appear to show clotting (when really it’s drying out on the slide from air exposure) – and this was the exact case of concern noted in the WAPF self-published study.
Our take is that this study has everything going against it scientifically and we’re unable to find any other documentation that shows cooked meat (yet not marinated or cured) to be of harm to any person for any reason (even Mercola and Jaminet don’t reflect that thoroughly cooked pork will hurt you). That said, we have much more in common with the WAPF than not. WAPF concludes that cured and marinated forms of pork are no problem at all, and Beyond Bacon includes a majority of recipes falling under those definitions. Lastly, WAPF recommends using CLA and Vitamin D-rich lard and healing bone broth from pastured pigs – and I don’t know of any other cookbook that does so as extensively as Beyond Bacon. In fact, we have visited Sally Fallon Morell’s farm where she raises gorgeous pastured pigs and they are pictured in Beyond Bacon!
For further information, we discussed the safety of pork consumption in Episode 30 of The Paleo View. We feel this summation addresses any concerns we’ve heard on consuming pork – but, by all means, do what you’re comfortable with. Please note, none of the articles mentioned here have been published in scientific journals or undergone peer review – the standard for scientific analysis. As stated, they are all based on CAFO or immune-compromised swine, which is consistent with our message that pastured pork is the way to go when preparing recipes for Beyond Bacon!
The book recommends cooking some cuts of meat until they are medium rare, isn’t that going to kill me?
Please see the above response, where we discuss why the USDA no longer recommends cooking your pork into a hockey puck, obliterating the natural moist and delicious meat. All the recipes in Beyond Bacon are consistent with such standards. To set your mind at ease even further, CSPI found that pork produced the LOWEST number of food borne illness among any of the meats commonly consumed – which is the reason one would need to cook meat well done to begin with.
It is almost impossible to find good quality pork where I live. I can’t find a farmer that doesn’t feed their pigs GMO supplemental feed.
If you are wondering where to find quality pastured pork in your area, use the website EatWild.com. Pastured pork is likely closer to you and easier to find than you think it is.
It‘s important to note that all pigs receive a supplemental diet beyond the food they graze on, whether they graze in a pasture or the forest. Pigs on small farms often receive scraps left over from the farmer’s food; farmers raising more than a few pigs supplement with feed. This can vary in quality and that’s what you need to investigate before you purchase pork from a local farmer. Even Joel Salatin gives his hogs supplemental feed!
We always ask about the ingredients in feed, the quantity used, and if it has been genetically modified. Make the best choices you can, and know that if a pastured pig gets just a portion of its diet through supplemental, conscientiously-chosen corn or soy feed, it will never be as detrimental to your health as the meat from a hog raised on an industrial farm. That pig, if on pasture, will still produce good amounts of Omega-3 fats for you! Swine are omnivores by nature, so their tolerance for supplemental feed is high – as long as it’s not all they’re eating and completely unnatural to their diet. We fell in love with our farmer when we found peach pits, from a neighboring orchard’s over-ripe fruit, in the pig’s pasture – they were clearly being fed well!
Isn’t all that saturated fat dangerous?!
The link between ingesting cholesterol and saturated fat and heart disease is not as strong as you might think. We know, we know: It just seems so logical! If you put bacon grease down your drain, you clog your pipes. Shouldn’t the same thing happen to your arteries? But studies don’t back this up. Ancel Keys was behind the Seven Countries Study, the first and most famous study to find, among other things, an association between serum cholesterol and and heart disease. The first results, published in the late fifties, highlighted the problem in the United States. What the study left out were the many other countries that didn’t support this thesis. France, for example, has a high fat diet, but there is a low incidence of heart disease death; Finland has a relatively low fat intake, but a high incidence of heart related death.
Yet despite this now widely disputed study, a high fat diet continues to be considered a cause of heart disease by a majority of Americans. The assumption is that science still validates this correlation, but science has actually proven the opposite. Over the years, this hypothesis has been continuously tested, but not specifically on foods – rather, blood serum cholesterol being manipulated by drugs.
In the early 80s, another massive study scared people off fat and cholesterol. You may remember Time Magazine’s famous cover of a plate of eggs and bacon made to look like a frowning face. What people fail to realize is that the study in question— The Coronary Primary Prevention Trial—was only attempting to correlate cholesterol in the blood serum with heart disease by giving people a drug that lowers serum cholesterol levels. It offers no insights into the dietary cholesterol and heart disease issue—or, for that matter, whether you should be worried about eating eggs and bacon. A thorough explanation can be found here.
But what you want to know is, does avoiding consumption of saturated fat lead to a lower risk of heart disease? Many studies have attempted to prove the link, but none have succeeded. A 2010 meta-analysis of all of the saturated fat studies showed that, overall, there is no association between saturated fat intake and heart disease risk.
What can we conclude from all of this? That if there is a link between eating lard and bacon and fatty pork products and dying from a heart attack, it is not significant enough to be detected by medical science. In fact, eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory micronutrients will limit your risk. What we’re left with is the premise of the Paleo diet, with its focus on eating meats from healthy animals, as well as vegetables, fruits, nuts and eggs, and the avoidance of inflammation-causing grains, legumes, processed dairy, and refined sugar.
Will Beyond Bacon be released on e-book?
Yes! It’s not part of the pre-order process, but just like Eat Like a Dinosaur it will definitely be available electronically! Although, part of the charm of this book is how stunning and sturdy the hardback version will be, so maybe you’ll need both!
I love the cover and photography of Beyond Bacon. Who did it?
We were thrilled to work with CJ for the custom chalk artwork. Aimee Buxton did the entirety of the food photography. Lastly, Beyond Bacon features gorgeous farm photography of pastured pigs by Molly Peterson, who lives and works on Mount Vernon Grassfed Farm (where we purchased whole Tamworth hogs for testing most of the recipes in this book).
Beyond Bacon pays homage to the humble hog by teaching you how to make more than a hundred recipes featuring cuts from the entire animal. While bacon might be the most popular part of the pig for those following the paleo diet, there is a plethora of other delicious and nutrient dense cuts to enjoy.
Pastured pork is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), the “good fats” our doctors want us to eat – not to mention high in Vitamin D, a deficiency for most Americans. Beyond Bacon breaks the myths behind this often eschewed meat and shows you how create delectable dishes that are grain-, legume-, dairy-, and refined sugar-free. Beyond Bacon allows you to improve your health and the environment by focusing on sustainable swine.
Don’t let the dried out pork of your youth scare you away! All the recipes in Beyond Bacon are elegant yet approachable, making it the ultimate cookbook for the foodie in you. You’ll find:
- Perfect Pork Chops, better than most restaurant steaks,
- Pho Soup with chitterling “noodles” and other healing and delicious soups and stews to stretch your dollar,
- the already-famous-among-recipe-testers Savory Bacon Jam fantastic with green apples or our Homestyle Biscuits
- sweet treats made luxuriously rich with lard, such as Grain-Free Pie Crust, Salted Mocha Biscotti, Fudge, and Maple Lard Scones,
- instructions on how to properly BBQ and smoke your meats as well as recipes to make your own sauces,
- instructions for curing your own bacon, pancetta and even home-made sausage better than store bought,
- details on how to properly fry foods, like Corn Dogs with Sweet Potato Crisps and Sweet & Sour Pork, and
- an extensive guide on how to make and cook with the nutrient dense essentials: pork stock and CLA-rich lard.